Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesdays With Women in Kidmin

Wednesdays with Women in Kidmin is about bringing together some of the leading 
women in children's ministry to share their knowledge and passion. 
For us to gather and learn from each sharpen each other.
As iron sharpens iron,
so a friend sharpens a friend.
Proverbs 27:17

Leadership Lessons from Deborah
- Cherie Duffey

What advice were you given when you started in children’s ministry? 

I began my first days on staff at NewSpring Church after my pastor asked me about taking a temporary leadership role over the nursery.  I never thought it would lead to a full time ministry position, but over time, as I did whatever I could to serve Jesus and my church, I took on more and more responsibilities, leading me to where I serve now, as the KidSpring Director.  Because I was a complete “novice” in the beginning and I didn’t realize my role would turn into anything more, it never dawned on me to seek out advice as I was starting in ministry. Now, almost 9 years later, I can look back with the most grateful heart and say that I know Jesus was ordaining my steps, walking with me moment by moment and protecting me from seeing where we were headed as a ministry.  If I could’ve seen what was coming, I don’t think I would have been in the position as long!

What advice would you give to a women just starting out in ministry?

Recently I was preparing a Bible story for our kids and was reading about Deborah. I had one of those moments where the Lord just fills your cup through His word and shows you something you need to see. As I read Judges 4-5, I started writing down a list of 5 things that I have learned in my time in ministry.  I think they qualify as “advice” for other women in ministry as well. 

 1. Trust in God’s Calling on Your Life (Judges 4:4-5)

· You are a child of God and your calling is to the Lord first. Deborah was a prophet --she listened to the voice of God and was ready to be used by Him! Being in ministry and getting advice is as simple as listening to the Lord and doing what He says. 
· You have other priorities in your life that come before the ministry. Deborah was the wife of Lappidoth--I love how scripture points this out, reminding us that a calling is first to the Lord, then to our husband/family and then to the ministry.
· You are a leader with spiritual authority.  Deborah was a leader of Israel who must have also been a good listener!  People came to her with their problems seeking wisdom, grace and justice.  With that in mind, we should grow more and more desperate for the presence of the Lord to lead us with every decision.

 2. Embrace Biblical Authority (Judges 4:6)

· As a ministry leader, respect the man God put in authority over you. Deborah knew that Barak was her leader. She went to him when there was a problem.  Learn how to be led and how to lead up to the leader God has placed over you in ministry.
· Always listen to the voice of God and act on what you have heard. Deborah knew the Lord had issued Barak a command, and she knew she needed to act on it.
· Be a leader who asks questions and speaks from your heart rather than giving a direct order. Deborah asks Barak a question to prompt him to action, rather than telling him what to do.  This is difficult to put into practice but is absolutely effective in leading people.

 3. Be a Servant Leader (Judges 4:7)

· Be a leader who asks “What can I do to help?” Deborah tells Barak she will help him.
· Look for opportunities to go to battle for your team. Deborah was ready to fight with Barak and for her people. There’s a balance with this. Fight for the vision of your ministry in a way that shows grace and also passion.
· Always be willing to serve no matter the cost. Deborah risked her life for the sake of her leader and her people.  Lead by example. 

 4. Recognize Your Value (Judges 4:8-9)

· You can be a source of strength to the leaders above you and below you.  Barak did not want to go to battle without Deborah. Don’t be afraid when other leaders ask you for advice or your help.
· Be confident to speak up when you discern the need to do so. Deborah spoke up knowing that she had truth Barak needed to hear. Measure your words but use them when you know you should.
· You can have influence without telling the leaders above you and below you what to do. Deborah let Barak make the decision to take her to battle, and when she spoke truth to him, Barak listened.  She had influence with him because of the way she led.

 5. Be Willing to Fight (Judges 4:14; Judges 5:31)

· You should be confident in knowing that the Lord is with you as you are a leader in ministry. Deborah reminds Barak that the Lord has gone before them in battle.
· You should fight to uphold the vision of your church and the vision of your children’s ministry. Deborah was fighting for God’s people to be free from the enemy.
· You should always fight for unity and peace. Deborah’s leadership brought peace to Israel for 40 years. Fighting to maintain healthy relationships with everyone in your scope of ministry will not be easy, but it’s essential. Learn to forgive because you’ve been forgiven.  Learn to love unconditionally, because that’s how Jesus has loved you.

Seeking advice from other ministry leaders is something I do regularly now that I’ve moved from “novice” to “beginner” status as a leader in ministry.

I’m so thankful for this opportunity to share with you, but I would love for you to add to this post with comments about the advice you would also give to other females starting out in ministry!

Cherie Duffey is the Children's Ministry Director at NewSpring Church.  She has been married to Shane (a pastor at NewSpring) for 23 years and they have four teenage boys. 


  1. Such a great list!!! Great post!! Thanks for introducing Cherie over at Into the Word Wednesday, Wendy! Have a great rest of the week, darlin!

    1. Thanks so much Falen! She's a gem! Blessings friend!

  2. I have a secret desire to be a children's or women's minister one day, thanks for sharing this post with us!


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